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Waterfront Skyscraper - Casino Authority - Kindergarten Wait - Island Birth - New Guinea Boy - Robson’s Solitary - Victim Bill - Heroin Jailbird - Prison Sex - Rail Fix - Liquor Trusts - Super 12 Fight - Waipareira Trust - Body Buried - Police Payout

WATERFRONT SKYSCRAPER: Auckland Mayor Christine Fletcher looks to be backing a council decision to stop the public having any say on a $171 million skyscraper on the Auckland waterfront. Mrs Fletcher, who was elected on a platform of open government and genuine consultation, yesterday refused to comment on serious concerns raised by a senior council planner that the 34-storey PricewaterhouseCoopers Tower will be too tall and will change the face of the harbour edge.

CASINO AUTHORITY: HAMILTON - The Minister of Consumer Affairs has called on Casino Control Authority member Michael Cox to resign after a judge found that he showed apparent bias in supporting the stalled Hamilton Casino. Phillida Bunkle said yesterday that she wanted an investigation into the authority's operations and membership.

KINDERGARTEN WAIT: Thousands of Auckland preschoolers are on waiting lists for state kindergartens. Some have been in the queue for nearly two years.

ISLAND BIRTH: Two New Zealanders were part of an international team of scientists who watched the explosive volcanic birth of a new island near the Solomon Islands this week. Gary Massoth and Cornel de Ronde, of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, left Darwin in the team several weeks ago to research what they thought was a dormant underwater volcano.

NEW GUINEA BOY: As a wide-eyed 14-year-old, John Kias was plucked from his New Guinea village and taken to Auckland so university academics and students could study his language. The boy became a celebrity in Auckland during his life-changing six-month visit in 1965, and this week, as a 48-year-old father of nine, he returned to New Zealand for the first time.

VICTIM BILL: Judges will have to consult victims before permanently suppressing criminals' names under a proposed new law. Justice Minister Phil Goff said yesterday that he was about to expand the Victims' Rights Bill to give victims the right to have their say before courts ban publication of offenders' names.

ROBSON’S SOLITARY: For once, Matt Robson seemed to have gone limp. As Minister of Corrections, Mr Robson has been a strong and popular personality in Parliament this year

PRISON SEX: Aaliyah-Marie Kingi knows what it's like to go without sex because your partner is locked up in jail. Nine months was a long time to wait - and she didn't.

HEROIN JAILBIRD: The mysterious jailbird who claims an Auckland businessman helped ship 256kg of heroin to the United States is likely to stay mysterious - in New Zealand at least. Hing Hung Wong, aged 37, is under virtual house arrest in a secret city apartment while his lawyers fight a US bid to have him deported on three heroin charges. He is alleged to have been a violent crime boss in an international drug smuggling ring.

RAIL FIX: The much-delayed train carrying the fix for Auckland's rail system has failed to reach the station again. But while there was much gnashing of teeth among the region's mayors yesterday at yet another holdup on rail negotiations, transport planners said Tranz Rail had signalled a big shift in its position.

LIQUOR TRUSTS: Auckland's liquor licensing trusts have been described as "three deserts surrounded by an oasis" to a parliamentary select committee. Licensing consultant Graeme Scott told the commerce committee, which is considering changes to the running of trusts, that there should be a level playing field.

SUPER 12 FIGHT: Tomorrow night, unless the Canterbury Crusaders can halt the Brumbies' stampede, the balance of power in world rugby will shift a little more firmly across the Tasman. The team from the Australian capital of Canberra have already pulled the Super 12 final out of New Zealand for the first time.

WAIPAREIRA TRUST: A former Waipareira Trust trustee accused of being a thief by Labour MP John Tamihere left a parliamentary select committee meeting yesterday without the apology he wanted. Dennis Hansen travelled to Wellington to tell of the hurt he had suffered since Mr Tamihere named him as a "known thief and drug addict" in Parliament in March.

BODY BURIED: A man accused of helping to bury the body of Deane Fuller-Sandys told a jury yesterday that he believed a crucial crown witness had been paid $30,000 by the police. Mark William Henriksen, aged 33, is charged with helping to dispose of the body 11 years ago to help Stephen Stone avoid being arrested.

POLICE PAYOUT?: A man accused of helping to bury the body of Deane Fuller-Sandys told a jury yesterday that he believed a crucial crown witness had been paid $30,000 by the police. Mark William Henriksen, aged 33, is charged with helping to dispose of the body 11 years ago to help Stephen Stone avoid being arrested.

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